New York State
Insurance Department


ISSUED: 12/27/2001

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DEPARTMENT RELEASES AUTO INSURER RANKING BY CONSUMER COMPLAINTS
Publication is Excellent Tool to Help Consumers Select Auto Insurance

             Superintendent of Insurance Gregory V. Serio today released the Department’s annual ranking of consumer complaints against New York State’s private passenger automobile insurance companies. The guide, which ranks 54 of the State’s largest automobile insurers by the number of consumer complaints received in 2000 compared to the amount of insurance premium written, is a useful tool for New Yorkers when making decisions on automobile insurance.

             "With over 200 automobile insurers to choose from in New York State it is important for consumers to shop around when selecting which automobile insurance is best for them. This ranking is an important resource because it is a way of measuring policyholder satisfaction with various auto insurers," said Serio. "I am pleased to offer consumers this valuable resource, in addition to our Consumer Guide to Automobile Insurance, because using both of these Department resources can help New Yorkers make informed, educated decisions when purchasing auto insurance."

             Erie, Harleysville and Amex Assurance - with no complaints upheld against them - took the top three spots in the ranking. Interboro Mutual Indemnity ranked 4th, followed by Chubb & Son and Amica. Amex Assurance, boasted its best performance in years -- jumping to 3 from 41.

             Among New York’s largest insurers, Allstate and State Farm finished 49th and 14th respectively. GEICO, the third largest private passenger auto insurer in New York State, ranked 39th .

             The three auto insurers with the highest complaint ratio are: Merchants & Business Mens Mutual, 54th, Legion, 53rd, and Leucadia, 52nd. Only two companies, Leucadia and Reliance have appeared in the bottom 10 in each of the past three years.

             Companies ranked at the top of the list performed best in 2000 in terms of consumer complaints. The complaint ratio is calculated by dividing the number of private passenger auto complaints upheld against an insurer and closed by the Department in 2000 by the insurer’s 1999-2000 average private passenger auto premium volume in New York State.

             The ten best performers in 2000 are:

2000
Rank


Company or Group

Complaint
Ratio

1999
Rank

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Erie
Harleysville
Amex Assurance
Interboro Mutual Indemnity
Chubb & Son
Amica
USAA
National Grange
New York Central Mutual
Preferred Mutual

0.00
0.00
0.00
0.03
0.03
0.03
0.04
0.04
0.07
0.08
6
18
41
4
10
3
5
25
20
15


             The five insurers with the highest complaint ratios are:

2000
Rank


Company or Group

Complaint
Ratio

1999
Rank

54
53
52
51
50

Merchants & Business Mens Mutual*
Legion
Leucadia
U.S. Agents Holding Corp**
AIG

19.12
7.16
3.52
1.34
0.58
47
52
51
50
44

             * Listed as part of Liberty Mutual Group in 1998 and 1999.

             ** Listed as American Agents Insurance Company in 1999.


              The five largest auto writers in New York State are ranked as follows:

Company or Group

2000
Complaint
Ratio

2000
Ranking

1999-2000
Average Premium
(in millions)

Market
Share

Allstate

State Farm

Berkshire-Hathaway (GEICO)

Citigroup

Progressive

0.46

0.09

0.21

0.11

0.18

49

14

39

18

32

$1,531.6

949.5

932.3

539.4

486.9

18.7%

11.6

11.4

6.6

5.9

            
             The Department encourages New Yorkers to obtain copies of our new Auto Ranking and the Consumer Guide to Auto Insurance which are both available on the Department’s Web site or by calling 1-800-342-3736.


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